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APRIL'S TRAVEL TIP TOPIC: Travel Insurance
Play it safe and plan to arrive 2.5 to 3 hours prior to your scheduled departure time to allow for any unexpected delays in traffic, check-in, security, or long lines at the newsstand!
Comfortable, casual clothing is best and if you plan to visit nicer establishments, a dressy outfit or two will come in handy! Be sure to have sleeves and longer shorts in the summer if you plan on visiting churches. Comfortable walking shoes are a must for your busy sight-seeing days! Check out the official Tenon Tours Italy Packing List below:
Due to motor coach space limitations, most luxury escorted tours only allow for one normal sized suitcase per individual. Remember, a wise traveler packs light! We also encourage just one carry-on bag per individual (for carrying items that might be needed during the day’s sightseeing excursions or camera/video equipment). Dimensions for carry-ons should not exceed 17” x 12” x 10”, allowing it to fit under the seat or in the overhead rack of most motor coaches.
Children under 6 years of age are not permitted on luxury escorted tours.
If you are renting a car, a valid credit card (Visa, Mastercard or American Express) in the driver’s name will be necessary in order to rent the vehicle. This is necessary for the security deposit taken as you pick up the car. Visa and Mastercards are the most widely accepted credit cards internationally. Rental car companies (as well as other vendors) do NOT accept Discover credit cards, so be sure to have a secondary major card if you primarily use Discover in the US.
We generally incorporate a sightseeing feature each morning and afternoon. There are breaks at two hour intervals or less so that you get a chance to stretch your legs, purchase a snack or lunch, take photos, use a restroom, etc.
On all tours, seats are rotated on a daily basis to allow all passengers an opportunity to sit towards the front of the coach. The tour director assigns seats for all clients. Seats belts must be worn when the coach is in motion. If you suffer from motion sickness it is recommended to bring medication with you.
It is never too early to book a group. Keep in mind that the further out from the departure date the better chance you have of reserving the perfect hotels, tours etc. If you are planning to travel between the months of May and September we highly advise at least 10-months notice to if you are set on securing particular properties. Any group that wants to book and travel inside 90 days would have to pay in full to secure the booking.
We recommend purchasing travel insurance. Tenon Tours offers a tour protection plan to cover your trip plus airfare – whether you purchase airfare through us or not. Travel insurance is affordable and gives you the extra peace of mind should anything happen during your trip. For specifics on our travel insurance coverage, contact your personal travel specialist.
Organizing your own group to travel gives you the flexibility to set the pace of the tour to match your interests and budget. It also allows you to take advantage of groups discounts in hotels, on tours and with airfare. You can reserve the land and air space with a minimum deposit to allow you time to promote the trip and gather participants.
Yes! All US citizens must have a passport that remains valid 6 months beyond the dates of your trip. All non-US citizens must check with their local consulate for documentation requirements. If you do not have a passport, one may be obtained through your local post office, which also offers expedited processing. ALL NAMES PROVIDED TO TENON TOURS MUST BE AS THEY APPEAR ON YOUR PASSPORT (first and last names only). You may want to make a copy of your passport and leave it at home with a friend of family.
In general, the weather in Italy is mild. This varies greatly between regions however. Summers are generally hot and dry, and you may see some rain in the Spring and Fall, especially in hilly and mountainous regions. Temperatures may drop to the 30’s and 40’s in the winter, but snow is infrequent unless you are in the northern mountains!
Check out Italy’s average monthly temperatures below:
As a Group Leader and Organizer you will be the liaison between the travelers and our Groups Department. So to get started on the research here are some of the details you will need:
What country would you like to visit?
When were you thinking of traveling?
How long would you like your trip to be?
How many people would you like to bring?
Does you group have a specific theme or interest, e.g. Golf, Music, Historic sites?
Will you be traveling together from one locations or from all around the US?
Need some ideas? View our sample itineraries.
The next step is to contact us to discuss the type of itinerary you would like and to receive a customized quote
Wheelchairs and certain types of motorized scooters can be accommodated on some luxury escorted tours. It is best that you inquire for the specific journey you are interested in. As a general rule, wheelchairs and motorized scooters are not accepted on luxury escorted tours. The international community does not adhere to the same accessibility standards that hotels, restaurants and public buildings do in the United States. That combined with tour itineraries that might require a considerable bit of walking in old historic city sections, in and around attractions, over cobblestone streets, up hills and climbing staircases make wheelchairs impractical to bring.
In some instances for international travel, you are allowed one piece of checked luggage and one carry on, although many airlines are even charging for the first checked bag now. For example, WOW Airlines, a popular choice for Iceland, allows only a small carry-on and requires you to pay for extra carry-on and checked bags as well. It is best to check with your scheduled airline for specifics regarding size, weight, and number of items allowed.
Depending on your cell phone plan/carrier, your cell phone will work in Ireland and the UK but will come with connection fees and minute charges. Digital Phones with GSM capabilities and an International roaming agreement will work but we recommend you contact your mobile company to see if they have a specific plan available or it will be expensive. Local cell phones are available for rent through Tenon Tours.
Your travel documents will be issued via EMAIL 7 to 10 days prior to departure. Documents will include your assigned hotel accommodations, transfer details and times, vendor contact information, emergency numbers and more. All you need to do is print out all of these documents and take them with you. You may forward them to friends & family to share your trip details and contact information.
Escorted Tours: Travel documents for escorted tours are mailed and will be delivered via USPS (sent from our office in Massachusetts) and should arrive approximately 7-10 days prior to departure.
There is a 6-hour time difference between Italy and Eastern Standard Time. 12PM in New York = 6PM in Italy.
If you take prescription drugs, ensure that you have an ample supply for the duration of your trip and always carry them in your hand luggage. If you rely on medication, glasses, contact lenses or dentures, it is a good idea to carry a prescription with the generic drug name so it can be filled abroad. Iceland has medical facilities of similar standards to North America and no special vaccinations are necessary to travel here.
Airlines require that you have at least 10 people traveling on the same itinerary in order to be considered a group. Your per seat deposit will hold airline reservations and guarantee your base fare until 90-120 days prior to departure depending on the airline. Tax and fuel are subject to change until paid in full and tickets are issued.
An escorted tour includes an experienced Tour Guide or Driver Guide that stays with your group throughout your whole tour. Depending on where you are traveling you may be required to have a Driver and a Tour Guide. In Ireland and Scotland most tours are operated by a Driver Guide who acts as both.
Travelers from the European Union, the United States and Canada do not need a visa to enter Italy for stays shorter than 90 days. If you hold a passport from a different country or plan on staying for more then 90-days, please check with your local consulate.
The average group size varies depending on the trip that is selected. Most of our land journeys average 20 to 40 guests.
We suggest checking with the front desk at the hotel or asking locals for recommendations based on what you’re looking to eat and how much you want to spend. Iceland is a very friendly and hospitable country when you are looking for suggestions or are needing questions answered.
You will work with your Personal Travel Specialist to prepare a preliminary itinerary for your chosen dates including your transportation and accommodations in order for a quote to be provided. Upon approval of the group tour details and pricing a deposit is required to secure the land components. You will also receive a payment schedule so you will know when all deposits & balances are due. If you would like us to hold group airfare for you we would also require a per seat deposit (depending on the airlines deposit terms) to hold the airline reservation.
A group can be any size, however most group discounts start with a minimum of 10 people. The more people in your group, the lower the price will be per person.
If you would like to have cash upon arrival we recommend exchanging around $100 before you leave. You can then withdraw money from local ATMs as needed, or use your credit card (Visa & MasterCard recommended). The ATMs will give you the bank’s best exchange of the day. You may also exchange a small amount of money at your hotels. We do not advise exchanging a lot of cash at the airports as they generally give you a less competitive exchange rate. Traveler’s Checks are NOT accepted at most locations outside of airports so we do not recommend them.
It is suggested, but not mandatory. Most banks have adapted to this technology and have been reissuing cards with a chip. If you have not received one yet you may call your bank to request one. These Chip & PIN cards help protect against fraud by requesting a pin to be entered to complete a transaction rather than the standard signature we have been used to. The main time it may become an issue if you do not have a chip is at unattended kiosks such as train stations or gas pumps where there is not a person to physically process the card for you. If this is the case we would just advise to find an ATM to withdrawal cash and pay that way.
Tenon Tours accepts checks and the following credit cards: VISA, Mastercard, Discover and American Express
The local currency in Italy is the Euro(€). Current exchange rates can be found at xe.com
It varies greatly from one person to another, but we recommend budgeting €100 per day to allow for lunch, dinner, drinks, gelato, and other expenses.
Many times you will be asked if you want to be charged in your home currency OR the local currency. We suggest choosing the local currency of the country you are visiting and in that case your bank/credit card will determine the exchange rate (which may be more favorable for you, especially if they have no International Transaction Fees). If you choose your home currency then the establishment you are in will determine your exchange rate (note: you may also still be charged an International Transaction Fee even if it is your home currency).
Yes. In Italy, the driver must be over the age of 21, but drivers under the age of 25 may incur additional fees. There is no maximum age.
For chauffeur driver tours where a private driver is hired on a daily basis tips are not included in your quoted price. Gratuity for your driver is at on your own discretion based on the quality and level of service you receive. Standard industry averages would suggest 5 to 10 Euros or Pounds per day, per person.
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to a foreign country. STEP allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency. Click here for more information.
Banks are generally open from Mon-Fri 8:00AM-1:00PM, then they re-open from about 3:00PM-5:00PM. ATM’s are accessible at all times!
Tipping is not customary in Italy. Many restaurants and bars will include a service charge, or “coperto” that is included in your bill.
We work directly with the suppliers on the ground and as a result have competitive contracts and experience in negotiating special rates with vendors. We also stand Price, Product and Policy Promise to make sure you receive the best deal and best service.
Your car quote includes all compulsory insurance – Collision Damage Waiver insurance (CDW with an excess/deductible), theft protection insurance (TP), sales tax (VAT), unlimited free mileage, third party liability insurance, one driver (unless otherwise noted), airport surcharge, free road map of Ireland or the UK and 24-hour peace of mind break down coverage. We highly recommend that you read through all of the terms and conditions of the car rental so you are familiar with what is included and what is not, as they will present you with several options upon pick-up (increased insurance, GPS, etc.).
Many credit cards offer additional insurance coverage, however it is VERY important to note if the country you are visiting is included. Ireland in particular is often an exception to this additional insurance coverage. If you’re one of the lucky few where Ireland is covered, all we need is proof of coverage from the credit card company to receive to book.
Ask your travel specialist about how to include a GPS and mobile phone rental in your Tenon Tours self-drive tour package, otherwise we rent GPS/mobile phone bundles for $20 per day. If you’d prefer to rent from your car rental company, you may rent a GPS only (normally around €/£10-15 per day) from them.
Inputting GPS Coordinates:
For GPS coordinates, use the first format listed in the GPS: (h ddd.ddddd°)
If the coordinates given read: 52.710743, -8,878969, they should be converted and entered into the Garmin GPS as : N 52.710743 and W 008.87896
The first coordinate given is Latitude (North/South). Ireland and the UK are north of the equator. The second coordinate is Longitude (East/West). If negative, it is west of the Prime Meridian line, (Ireland and the UK are west of the Prime Meridian) if it’s positive it is to the East.
If you arrive to pick up your car before your confirmation time and a car is available they will let you pick it up early. If you pick up the car early your return time will then change to the same time on the day you need to drop it off as car rentals are valid for a 24-hour rental period.
The Super CDW is additional insurance you can add to your regular CDW for an extra cost. The Super CDW insures against the CDW deductible amounts. Tires, wheels, fuel contamination and loss of keys are not covered by premium. If not included in your quote, daily cost is approximately €/£12.00-22.00 EUR depending on car category.
Private chauffeur drivers are required to follow restrictions for the amount of hours per day they may drive, breaks they must take, and the amount of days they may work in a row. Drivers are legally allowed to work for only 8 consecutive hours per day of transferring and touring. Driver are also required by law to build in certain break times to their day which means your itinerary will also need to allow for this. For more details on restrictions on the private drivers, download our 10 Tips for Hiring a Private Chauffeur Driver Guide here!
A door-to-door transfer is exactly that: You can hire a driver to pick you up at point A to take you to point B. With a service like this the driver is not a licensed guide to provide you with information regarding sites, history or stories during your transfer.
If you hire a Private Chauffeur Driver, they will get you from point A to point D, with stops at point B & C along the way while they are also providing you guidance as to where you are and what you’re seeing.
Generally there will not be a Tenon Tours representative at the airport upon your arrival unless you booked a private taxi. Please follow the directions you were given on your transfer vouchers and/or travel documents in order to locate your appropriate transportation company (car, bus, private taxi).
Prior to travel you will need to have a rough outline of where you want to go and what you want to do so that we can help you determine if it is even possible within the driver’s hired time limits and the countries regulations. There should be some flexibility built in for unforeseen time issues and/or if you would like to take a more causal approach to your sightseeing. Always remember, there are time, mileage and driver regulations that must be abided by. These regulations are not set by Tenon Tours and your driver will work with you directly as to any itinerary changes or updates that may be required. For more details on itinerary planning for chauffeur driver tours, download our Private Chauffeur Driver Guide here!
Of course! In fact, we encourage it! Your driver will be an amazing source of knowledge for the area you’re touring, so be sure to pick their brain as much as possible!
Yes! Your driver, while they may have accents native to their respective countries, will always speak English.
To ensure the comfort of all our passengers, we do not offer the option of sharing service for solo traveling passengers on escorted tours. We do, however, offer a single supplement whereby you will have the privacy of your own room.
For tour options specific to solo travelers and/or roommate matching options please see our solo / singles travelers options here.
Most hotels have modern accessories, although specific offerings vary by hotel. We recommend you check the hotel website for details pertaining to complimentary and optional inclusions and services.
Typically, check-in is 3:00pm, although many places will allow you to check in earlier once rooms have been cleaned and inspected. Luggage can be stored in a secure area for early arrivals.
It is important to note that European hotel rooms generally tend to be smaller than North American hotel rooms.
For your hotel room you can choose to have:
Double– One bed for two people (usually Queen size, sometimes Double/Full. King only by request and not always guaranteed).
Twin– Two separate beds (can be two Single beds, two Double/Full, one Single & one Double/Full, etc…)
Triple– Two beds to sleep three people. Rarely will there be three separate beds. (Normally you will find a Double/Full bed and one twin bed for a total of 2 beds. Sometimes you may find two Double/Full or three Single beds, but it is rare.) Please note there is no reduction in cost for a third person sharing a room with two others. For comfort, we suggest that three adults take two separate rooms.
Twin and Triple Room configurations will be assigned based on hotel availability at the time of check-in.
Note: No more than three people can share a hotel room on escorted tours.
In Italy, the standard voltage is 230 volts (220-240), 50 cycles A/C and works off a round 2 pin plug. An adapter is necessary and can be found in most duty-free shops in the airport, Brookstone, Bed Bath & Beyond, or in most hardware stores or pharmacies such as Walgreen’s. Please see our Adapter/Converter blog by clicking here!
Breakfast is included daily at your accommodation (unless otherwise noted). Please check with each specific property for their serving time, menu and other details as most have time restraints.
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